Did your costs drop?

Inflation continued to soften in the March quarter, with most tribes experiencing negative inflation.

Four tribes – the Affluent and Constrained Couples and Singles – saw negative inflation, while two – the Cash-Strapped Couples and Singles – had zero inflation.

Negative inflation does not necessarily mean that prices affecting you went down, but rather that prices on average went down. You actually may have experienced an increase in the costs of some goods you purchased in the March quarter.

The low inflation numbers were driven by falls in the cost of automotive fuel (-8.7 per cent) and both domestic (-3.8 per cent) and overseas (-2.1 per cent) holidays, travel and accommodation.

The Affluent tribes are the most likely to spend more on travel and so are more likely to have enjoyed the biggest falls in costs (couples -0.3 per cent and singles -0.2 per cent).

A cautionary point, however, is that while fuel costs went down compared with highs in the previous quarter, they were still expensive.

The spending categories that rose the most were vegetables (+7.7 per cent), secondary education (+4.2 per cent), motor vehicles (+2.4 per cent) and medical and hospital services (+1.3 per cent).

How the cost-of-living changes in the March quarter affected you will depend on how you spend your money. If you spend a big proportion of your budget on travel, you may have noticed an easing in costs; if you spend a big proportion on food, you would have noticed a tightening.

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